Best of December in Kansas City

2017 Edition

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Experience the best of Kansas City this December. Whether you're hosting out of town company or celebrating with your family - there is something for everyone. Enjoy live shows, NEW Christmas traditions, holiday traditions, and more. Our readers love the Ultimate Guide to Christmas in Kansas City, your complete guide to local holiday events, but sometimes it is daunting to sort through hundreds of holiday celebrations. These are our top picks for December in Kansas City:


Christmas at Crown Center

Crown Center is a Kansas City Christmas Tradition. Crown Center (2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO). With live theaters, beautiful shops, holiday performances, visits with Santa, and Ice Skating, this is your premier holiday destination:

Crown Center Holiday Choirs thru Dec. 23. Beautiful music fills the halls of Crown Center, as more than 130 area school, church and community choirs perform throughout the holiday season. 

Crown Center Ice Terrace 2425 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO. 816.274.8411. Kansas City's original ice skating rink is open for its 45th season of great skating fun! Regular admission is $6, or free for adults over age 60 and children age 4 and under. Skate rental is $3, or skaters may bring their own. Hours: Sunday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Friday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 11 p.m. 

Santa’s Gingerbread Station thru Dec. 31. All aboard for a favorite holiday tradition at Crown Center! Kids and families can explore this interactive exhibit, meet and have their photo taken with Santa Claus (through December 24), climb aboard the Crown Center Express Train Engine, and enjoy Gingerbread Village. No admission fee. Photos with Santa are available for a fee, or you may take your own. Open during Crown Center Shops holiday hours. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and noon to 5 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Closed Christmas Day. FREE! After visiting Santa, head over to The Coterie for a live production of A Charlie Brown Christmas this popular show sells out - so buy tickets early.

EBT Laughing Santa and Santa’s Countdown to Christmas Nov. 24-Dec. 31 at Crown Center Shops, 2500 Grand, Kansas City, MO. Don't miss one of Kanas City's favorite pieces of Christmas nostalgia. EBT Laughing Santa, who first appeared at KC's Emery, Bird, Thayer department store in the early 1900s, has been providing memories for new generations at Crown Center since 1979. Children of all ages will marvel at this Jolly Ol' Soul as he chuckles his way through the holiday season while counting down the days until Christmas. FREE!

Downtown Dazzle: Holiday Trolleys Saturdays from 5-9pm Nov. 25 - Dec.23, Hop on the FREE Downtown Dazzle Holiday Trolleys for a scenic ride up and down Kansas City’s Grand Boulevard. Between the KC Streetcar and our Holiday Trolleys, getting around during Downtown Dazzle is easy and free. Stop at the new Downtown Dazzle Holiday Lighting installations in Washington Square Park and KC Power & Light District. The dazzling light installations in Washington Square Park will turn on at the same time as the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting in Crown Center on Friday, November 24 and run through Jan. 1. Wander through Crown Center’s magnificent holiday lights and then make your way across Pershing Road, immediately north of Crown Center, to stroll through the Downtown Dazzle holiday lights. FREE!


NEW! WinterFest at Worlds of Fun

​WinterFest at Worlds of Fun Nov. 24- Dec. 30 at Worlds of Fun.

Why We LOVE IT: Holiday cheer rings out at Worlds of Fun during the first annual WinterFest celebration. Thousands of sparkling lights transform the park with an inviting glow that warms the heart and lifts the spirit. Witness 10 live shows, meet over 16 iconic holiday characters, join 9 holiday activities like ice skating and cooking decorating, ride select park attractions, and create lasting memories with family and friends. We're especially excited to celebrate with Charlie Brown and Snoopy! Charlie, the gang, and a cast of 18 singers and dancers will present a Christmas Holiday Spectacular! This stunning display of holiday cheer includes high-kicking and a hefty amount of sequins to dazzle the audience. Charlie Brown even takes the stage to impress the audience with his extra special dance moves, but you can be assured the Snoopy and Lucy won’t let him steal the spotlight. All of the PEANUTS gang will be represented in this fast-paced spectacle, brought together with the talented performers who will delight with their harmonious vocals and fancy footwork in this Broadway-caliber show!


Holidays Alive at Union Station and NEW! Astro Botanicals

Union Station (30 W. Pershing Rd., Kansas City, MO. is one of our city's most beautiful landmarks and a favorite family destination. Enjoy favorite Union Station holiday traditions and NEW experiences as well:

NEW!Astro Botanicals Nov. 18 - Dec. 31 at Union Station 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO. Experience a bold, new sculpture garden that’s going to catch the eye of nature lovers, art enthusiasts and will capture the hearts of the playful. Just outside Science City in the new Haverty Family Yards, eight inflatable sculptures between eight and 15 feet tall will “grow” in a unique and fantastical exhibition. The inflatable designs are purposefully massive in scale, so their multi-colored light displays give off a magical aura. “In the daytime they appear to be bigger-than-life ice sculptures, and at night, Astro Botanicals are illuminated in holiday colors for a dreamy winter wonderland feel,” says Tammy Ruder, Special Events Manager at Union Station. This newest addition to “Holidays Come Alive” will be visible from the West Yards Garage pedestrian bridge, but to truly be immersed with them, guest should plan to walk among them. During regular daytime hours, Science City guests are invited into the “garden” via Science City outdoor gates. For evening hours, Haverty Family Yards gates will be your access point. Either way, you won’t want to miss interacting and taking pictures with the sculptures titled, Magnolia Starship, Asparagus and Dragon Lotus. Astro Botanicals visits Kansas City for the first time and ONLY at Union Station. Union Station Members will experience it for FREE and non-members can expect a nominal charge. 

Mini Holiday Express Train Take a ride on our miniature train! Often referred to as the Jones Store Train and beloved by generations at the holidays, it was once a popular attraction at the Jones Store downtown. Riders must be under 48" tall (approximately 5-6 years of age and under). Union Station Members FREE. Non-members $5

Classic Holiday Throwback Movie Series Watch your favorite holiday films on the Extreme Screen for just $3! Nov 17-22 - National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. Nov 24-30 - Elf. Dec 1-7 - Home Alone. Dec 8-14 - Polar Express in Your PJs. 

Harvesters’ Big BackSnack Give Back Dec. 3 from 11am-3pm. Harvesters’ BackSnack program provides packs of nutritious food to more than 20,000 students in Kansas City and surrounding communities, so they don’t go hungry over weekends at home. The need for these packs of nutritious food more than doubles during the holiday school break. Bring the entire family and get in the giving spirit. Help Harvesters pack BackSnacks for hungry children, while enjoying kids activities, hot cocoa, snacks, music and more!

Merry Science Day Dec. 9 at Science City at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO. A day jam-packed full of holiday-themed science and Maker fun in Science City! Visit and create at the Toy Workshop in the Maker Studio, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus in the Test Kitchen and enjoy holiday science demos as we celebrate Merry Science.

Holiday Swing Dec. 10 from 10am-6pm at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO. Shop over 100 handmade & vintage vendors at The 7th Annual Holiday Swing; the Midwest’s #1 handmade holiday shopping experience at historic Union Station! The Holiday Swing is proud to be one of Etsy’s "Etsy Made Local Markets" 

The KCS Holiday Express Dec. 15-19 at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City. The KCS Holiday Express is a festive, six-car train that brings Santa Claus and his elves to communities throughout the company’s U.S. rail network at scheduled stops. Guests to the train can visit with Santa Claus and walk through three cars filled with holiday displays. Each event is free, open to the public and no tickets are required. FREE!

Holiday Magic Laser Show Dec. 16 - Jan. 7 at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO. Celebrate the holidays with your favorite songs set to a choreographed laser show.

Trombone Christmas Dec. 16 at Union Station, 30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO. The Trombone Christmas Kansas City Concert was founded by Dr. Frank Perez and Mr. William Biggs in 2017 and is presented to promote and encourage the fellowship and musicianship of trombone players through the performance of Christmas Music. Participation in the concert is open to trombone players of all ages and experience levels. FREE!

Raggedy Ann and Andy’s Christmas Adventure Nov. 28 - Dec. 30 at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Rd, Ste 800, Level B, City Stage, Kansas City, MO. Those lovable cotton-stuffed dolls with their bright red yarn hair go on a fearless adventure in the Deep Woods to rescue light, warmth and the spirit of Christmas for the diverse population that lives inside Marcella’s toy chest.

5th Annual Noon Year's Eve at Science City, December 31st, Noon-7PM! Noon Year's Eve is is THE place to have a fun, safe and education New Year's Eve party for children of all ages and parents, too!


Winterfest Topeka

Winterfest Topeka Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Downtown Topeka

Why We LOVE It: Featuring live reindeer and a sleigh ($5 selfie photos), horse-drawn carriage rides along the avenue ($3 per person), and everyone from the Sugar Plum Fairy to Scrooge and Tiny Tim, WinterFest will be a holiday memory-maker for all. Special features include: Ice Sculptures, Gingerbread House making, 12 Days of Christmas displays, Santa game, Discounts and specialty items at area shops, Horse and carriage rides for $3 per person, at 7th and S. Kansas, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., $5 selfie photos with the reindeer at 8th and Kansas, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Mexican hot chocolate and tamales at Lupita's, Write letters to Santa at Classic Bean, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (Don't forget to give your letter to Santa!), and Meet and Greet with Santa.






NEW! adaptation of A Christmas Carol at The KC Repertory Theatre

Christmas Carol at KC Rep

Christmas Carol at The KC Rep thru Dec. 24.

Why We LOVE It: Kansas City’s favorite holiday tradition is back for its 37th season, with an all-NEW adaptation by KCRep Artistic Director, Eric Rosen! A ripping good telling of the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the curmudgeonly businessman who requires the intervention of a few spectral guides to understand the true meaning of Christmas and life. Complete with lively musical numbers, ornate costumes, and dashing stagecraft, Dickens’ classic tale of hope and redemption continues to remind us what’s really worth celebrating - at the holidays, or any time!






Cirque Musica Holiday presents BELIEVE

Cirque Musica Holiday Presents BELIEVE Dec. 5 at 7pm at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena, 19100 E Valley View Pkwy, Independence, MO.

Why We LOVE It:The Cirque Musica Holiday Presents BELIEVE is a fun filled holiday entertainment event for the entire family. The perfect celebration for the holidays as the cast of Cirque Musica performs incredible feats of strength, skill, and grace to great Holiday music favorites performed by a live symphony.



NEW! Festival of Lights at Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens (1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO) celebrates the season with special events in the gardens throughout the winter and we're especially excited for the Festival of Lights a NEW holiday tradition. 

NEW! Festival of Lights Dec. 1 - Jan. 7. A lighting exhibition, artfully curated by the Powell Gardens Horticulture staff, the Festival of Lights includes botanically-themed lighting displays that begin at the garden entrance and stretch along a winding pathway through six of the seven themed gardens.

Wonderland Workshop: Drop-in Gift Making for Families Dec. 2 from 3-6pm. Bring your little elves to Powell Gardens for a fun-filled afternoon of ornament making, Christmas card designing, bird feeder constructing, and storytelling in front of a fire! Get a family photo made for the holiday season, ask Santa for that pony you’ve always wanted, and enjoy seasonal treats to kick off Powell Gardens first-ever holiday lighting display. Festival Admission applies and includes most hands-on activities (additional fee for photographs and $2 fee per person for the ornament activity). 

Powell Gardens' Holiday Concert Dec. 3 from 5-6pm. Arcana Quartet is comprised of students attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, under the direction of Professor Zachary Shemon.

Why We LOVE It: The gardens are magical at wintertime and the special events are a beautiful reminder of the season.


NEW! Child of Hope

Child of Hope a professional production and collaboration between Storling Dance Theater and The Culture House showing Dec. 1-3 at Oak Park Mall, 11149 W 95th St, Overland Park, KS.

Why We LOVE It: Enjoy a brand new production by Storling Dance Theater, also called Child of Hope, that presents the Nativity story as only Storling can tell it. Biblically accurate and sensitive to the historic nature of the coming of Jesus Christ, Storling and included dancers will tell the dramatic and moving true story of the anticipation and arrival of Jesus. Not a fairy tale, Child of Hope brings us closer to appreciation what was really going on in that manger so long ago.


Clara's Dream

Clara's Dream and Holiday Showcase Dec. 16 & 17 at Olathe South High School Performing Arts Center, 1640 E 151st St, Olathe, KS. 

Why We LOVE It: This beautiful adaption of the classical Nutcracker Ballet follows Clara on a magical journey through the land of Snow and Sweets. Performances feature the artistic talents of the Miller Marley Youth Ballet and Youth Ballet 2 companies, along with over 60 guest performers, all adorned in beautiful costumes. Miller Marley's performance companies kick off with Act 1 with a lively variety of holiday songs and dances by performers ranging in age from 5 to 18. This inspiring holiday tradition is a wonderful way to introduce families to the Nutcracker Ballet, while enjoying the talents of so many young performers.


Holidays at Summit Fair

Summit Fair 860 NW Blue Pkwy, Lee’s Summit, MO.

Why We LOVE It: The holidays are magical at Summit Fair. Shops and restaurants include: featuring Beauty Brands, Buckle, Cato, Charming Charlie, Chick-fil-A, Chico's, The Children's Place, Christopher & Banks, Complete Nutrition, Crazy 8, Dressbarn, DSW, Escapist Skateboarding, Francesca's, Freebirds World Burrito, Glo Nail Lounge, Heavenly Olive Oil & Vinegars, JCPenney, Jos A. Bank, Macy's, McAlister's Deli, Massage Heights, Maurices, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Sakura Sushi, Smallcakes, Tip Top Tux, Visionworks, Whim Boutique, White House Black Market, Yankee Candle and Yogurtini. December Events include:

STROLLING SANTA AND MRS. CLAUS EVERY SATURDAY/SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25TH - DECEMBER 17TH, 3:00-5:00PM. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus as they stroll about Summit Fair enjoying the cheer of the holiday season. Make sure to bring your cameras and snap a #SelfieWithSanta!

PUPPETS FOR PAWS WITH SANTA CLAUS Friday, December 8th, 6:00-8:30PM Come out for a FREE, holiday themed version of the Mesner Puppet Theater’s, Comical Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and help us support Furry Kids’ Refuge in the process! (Check out their wish list for items to donate – donations accepted at the event!) Kiddos get to sit with Santa Claus during the show and will have the opportunity to take photos with Santa following the event. 

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